Different Types Of Cockatoos

Because this website is mainly about cockatiels, I couldn’t leave out their close relative the Cockatoo. Let’s look at different types of cockatoos and what cockatoos are like as pets.

different types of cockatoos

Cockatoos originate from islands off the coast of Indonesia and New Guinea, and their distribution extends to Australia. The group can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • Black cockatoos
  • White cockatoos

The black cockatoos are extremely rare compared to the white ones.

Cockatoos typically have an average age range of 50 to 70 years, making them lifelong pets for most people.

Cockatoos are among the most distinctive parrots due to their crest which they raise when excited or alarmed. When cockatoos are resting, they keep their crest feathers folded back over the top of their heads. The shape of the crest varies between the different types of cockatoos.

Cockatoos maintain their plumage with frequent preening throughout the day. They remove oil and dirt and realign feather barbs by nibbling at their feathers. Cockatoos produce preen-oil from a gland on their lower back and apply it by wiping their plumage with their heads or already oiled feathers.

Like other parrots, cockatoos have short legs, strong claws, a waddling gait when walking, and often use their strong bill as a third limb when climbing through branches. The feet of cockatoos have two toes pointed forward, and the other two toes pointed backward.

They generally have long broad wings used in rapid flight, with speeds up to 70 km/h.

Cockatoos have a large bill, which is kept sharp by rasping the two jaws together when resting. The bill is complemented by a large muscular tongue which helps manipulate seeds inside the bill so that they can be de-husked before eating.

When breeding cockatoos, one of the greatest difficulties is in ensuring compatibility between the members of a pair. It is not uncommon for a pair to live in harmony until the start of the breeding season, and then the cock will suddenly turn on its mate, by seriously attacking or even killing her. Even a proven pair is no guarantee that this won’t happen.

Starting out with odd birds is riskier particularly if the hen is younger than her mate and nesting for the first time. It is safer to get young birds, having had them sexed by DNA method, and then wait for them to breed in due course.

Having grown up together, the bond between them is likely to be greater than two adult birds who are put together.

Once established, a pair of cockatoos can breed successfully for more than twenty years.

Different Types Of Cockatoos

There are many different types of cockatoos, so let’s take a closer look at them here. You can see that the different types of cockatoos all have crests, with some hidden and others more prominent.

Umbrella Cockatoos

The Umbrella cockatoo is one of the largest and most popular of the white cockatoos. Its name is given to it because of the shape of its broad crest that pops out similar to an umbrella.

The Umbrella Cockatoo (C.alba) measures 48 cm (19 in) in length and originates from the northern and central Moluccan Islands of Indonesia.types of cockatoos Their incubation period is 28 days and the fledging period is 84 days. The clutch size is one or two eggs.

An Indonesian native, the umbrella is slightly smaller than the Moluccan cockatoo but is not smaller in personality or charm.

Sexing is carried out visually as the hen’s iris is a red-brown color, and the cock’s iris is black. Young birds can be identified by the grey color of their eyes.

Male and female birds will share the incubation of a clutch of two eggs. If both eggs hatch, a size difference will develop as one assumes dominance and takes more of the food. The weaker chick will normally need to be hand-reared if it is to survive.

Personality-wise, umbrella cockatoos are gentle and docile creatures, making them an excellent parrot to adopt. The umbrella cockatoo makes a charming, affectionate pet, but it’s not for everyone. An umbrella cockatoo demands a lot of attention and needs an owner who can set boundaries.

These birds can live up to 70 years with the right care and attention, but unfortunately, many of these sensitive birds don’t live that long. They are prone to self-mutilation and the infections that result from that abnormal behavior.

The umbrella cockatoo owner should have experience with parrots before taking on this feathered handful. This is not a good first bird to try, nor is it a good child’s pet.

One has to be careful as the umbrella cockatoo also tends to become spoiled very easily, and will not take well to changes in routine, or additions to the family, such as an infant or new puppy.

Moluccan Cockatoo

The Salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), is also known as the Moluccan Cockatoo, It comes from the Seram Archipelago in eastern Indonesia. Within the Moluccan family there are also many different types of cockatoos.

At a height of up to 46–52 cm (1.51–1.71 ft) and weight of up to 850 grams (1.87 lb), it is among the largest of the white cockatoos.

Both adult males and females are large, soft peach-colored cockatoos with bright, dark peach crests; soft yellow suffusion underwings, and under the tail.

Moluccans are affectionate birds that bond strongly with their owners, thriving on social interaction. Moluccans like to be cuddled and tend to get clingy at times. The Moluccan tends to turn into a one-person bird.

As pets, they want to be as close to their human mate as they naturally would with a mate in the wild. This bird needs a dedicated owner. This parrot stands out from the rest because of their salmon-pink feathers and brilliantly colored crest. They have boisterous, comical personalities.

While Moluccans are known to be extremely affectionate, males may get aggressive as they age. Any cranky cockatoo can bite, which is why they are not really the right pet for families with children.

Moluccan cockatoos are prone to pulling out their feathers if not offered enough mental and physical activity or if their human mate does not spend sufficient time socializing with it.

Other conditions found in cockatoos include psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), fatty liver disease, and obesity. So you do need to watch their diet, especially as they get older.

Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos

The Lesser Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua Sulphurea) is commonly kept as a pet and for breeding purposes. It is recognized by its yellow ear patches and crest. Another popular bird is the citron-crested cockatoo with its distinctive orange plumage.

Cockatoos are not an ideal choice for the novice bird-keeper because of their temperament. They can screech for long periods and can be destructive.

They do need well built accomodation and no nearby neighbours.

Their behaviour may worsen as they grow older especially if they are hand-reared, because they then have no instinctive fear of people and will bite readily.

These cockatoos are 30 cm (12 in) in length. They have an incubation period of 28 days and a fledging period of 75 days. The clutch size is normally two eggs.different types of cockatoo

A close relations to the sulphur-crested cockatoo is the Eleonora Cockatoo. This  white cockatoo has the signature yellow mohawk-looking crest sulphur-crested cockatoos are known for.

Eleonora cockatoos are amongst the smallest sub-species of sulphur-crested cockatoos.

The Matthews’ cockatoo, a cockatoo named after Gregory Matthews, the Australian ornithologist who identified the species in 1912. This is another sub-species of the Sulphur crested Cockatoo.

Overall, they look very similar to other sulphur-crested cockatoos with their all-white body, but with a darker and more slanted beak.

Never adopt a parrot that’s as social as a Matthews’ cockatoo unless you have a lot of free time to give him.

For our last sub-species of sulphur-crested cockatoos, we have the Triton Cockatoo, a white and yellow crest cockatoo like the other sub-species described.

Coenraad Jacob, a Dutch zoologist, first discovered this species in 1948.

Like many other Sulphur-crested cockatoos, the triton cockatoo is an extremely affectionate, playful, and intelligent parrot, making them an excellent option for large families looking for a long-term pet. This is a large parrot, so will need plenty of room.

Ducorp’s Cockatoos

The Ducorp’s Cockatoo (C. ducorpsi) come from the Solomon Islands and have become available to bird keepers in recent years.

They are relatively small crested and have a blue area of skin surrounding their eyes.

They average about 30 cm(12in) in length and have an incubation period of 25 days. The fledging period is 62 days and the clutch size is normally two eggs.

Unlike many cockatoos, they can be persuaded to sample greenstuff, fruit and vegetables quite readily, especially when they are rearing chicks.

Galah Cockatoos

The galah or roseate cockatoo (Eolophus Roseicapillus) is one of the easier species to manage in the different types of cockatoos, although over-reliance on sunflower seed in the diet can cause problems giving rise to lipomas (fatty tumours). It can be difficult ot persuade cockatoos to alter their dietary preferences, so always offer them a varied diet from the outset.

Try a complete diet, which offers a more nutritionally balance alternative to seed alone.

The pink and grey colour scheme of the galah cockatoo is unique. These birds may mature as early as tow years old and are more prolific than the white cockatoos sometimes laying four or five eggs at a time.galah cockatoo

They are 35 cm (14 in) long and their incubation period is 25 days. Their fledging period is 49 days.

Incubation is shared in typical cockatoo fasion and compatibility between members of the pair is far less a problem in these cockatoos than their Umbrella cousins.

Occasional colour variants have also been recorded, noticeably a white-backed form where grey plumage is replaced by white feathering.

As with other cockatoos galahs are hardy when housed in aviaries, while, temperamentally, they make better pets than the other species.

No cockatoos are especially tallented as talking birds, although they can learn to wistle a passable tune.

Solomons Cockatoo

Solomons cockatoos are friendly, intelligent, and extremely playful creatures.

The Solomons cockatoo (Ducorps Corella), has a similar look to the umbrella cockatoo, but doesn’t feature the same umbrella crest.

Their crest tends to be a bit smaller and a lighter colored beak, but they still have an all-white body.

Glossy Black Cockatoo

For yet another all-black cockatoo, check out the glossy black cockatoo.

These incredibly unique cockatoos are all black with a round head but feature streaks of bright red in their tail.

They’re around 20 inches in length and have a weight generally around 1 pound.

As for their personality, glossy black cockatoos are incredibly friendly and affectionate.

As great of a parrot as they are, there are only a few hundred or so left in the world.

Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoodifferent types of cockatoos

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is yet another all-back cockatoo but has a yellow dot on its face, as well as a yellow tail.

They’re one of the world’s largest cockatoos by being 26 inches in length and having a weight of around 1.5 to 2 pounds.

Yellow-tailed black cockatoos are very friendly and loving, making them an excellent option for families looking for a solid parrot to adopt.

Goffins Cockatoo Or Goffini Cockatoo

different types of cockatoos

Goffin cockatoos are extremely social and affectionate, making them an excellent pet no matter your living situation.

Remember to give them enough toys and attention, so they’re at their happiest.

Goffins are smaller than the rest of the cockatoo family. They are about half the size, so they are easier to handle. I am priveledged enough to own a Bare-Eyed Goffin Cockatoo. There are quite a few different types of cockatoos when it comes to the Goffin family.

Red-Vented Cockatoo

For a slightly more colorful cockatoo compared to the ones already listed, check out the red-vented cockatoo.

This is a white cockatoo with streaks of yellow and red in their tail.

These gorgeous cockatoos are not only compelling to look at but make for great pets.

Like many other cockatoos on this list, red-vented cockatoos are incredibly high energy, meaning it’ll take a lot to actually tire them out.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo is a white and light pink cockatoo with a large yellow and rest crest that opens up when excited.

It’s challenging to find a more unique looking cockatoo after glancing at a major mitchell’s cockatoo.

Major mitchell’s cockatoos are a staggering 20 to 24 inches in length and weigh 20 ounces.

Personality-wise, they’re reasonably wary parrots, meaning they tend to not like a lot of noise than other cockatoos.

Although they can be very friendly and loving, expect them to take a while to develop some trust.

They have an average lifespan of 50 to 60 years and are native to inland Australia.

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

The red-tailed black cockatoo might be one of the most frightening looking cockatoos but are actually incredibly friendly and affectionate after they form a close bond with you.

They’re all black with a short grey beak, and a red tail.

They’re quite large and are around 24 inches in length, and are 1.5 to 2 pounds for their weight.

Red-tailed black cockatoos love to chew and play. If given the opportunity they will quickly chew through your furniture.

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo

Although their eyes aren’t technically blue, the blue-eyed cockatoo has a blue circle around each eye. The blue-eyed cockatoo (Cacatua ophthalmica) is a large, mainly white cockatoo about 50 cm (20 in) long with a mobile crest, a black beak, and a light blue rim of featherless skin around each eye that gives this species its name.

Blue-eyed cockatoos are mischievous and energetic parrots, meaning they tend to get into stuff if they have the opportunity. Due to their interaction ability, these pets require quite a bit of attention. A lack of interaction could result in self-mutilation, that includes feather plucking.

They’re quite large like many other cockatoos as they tend to be 20 inches in length and around a pound for their weight.

The blue-eyed cockatoo reaches full maturity after 4 years and lives an average of 50 years.

Long-Billed Corella

The long-billed corella is a fascinating looking parrot that’s white throughout most of their body, but have red dots around their face. It is a medium-sized white cockatoo with a short crest (not always visible) and short tail, stocky body and a distinctive long upper mandible to its bill.

There is a faint yellowish wash on the undersides of its wings and tail, and orange-red splashes on its forehead, throat and an orange-red crescent across its upper breast. The eye ring is pale grey-blue. It is a conspicuous and gregarious species, often seen foraging in large flocks on the ground.

The Long-billed Corella is normally found only in the extreme south-east of Australia from south-eastern South Australia through western Victoria to southern New South Wales.

They tend to have powerful personalities, meaning they can be a bit demanding if they don’t get everything they want.

They’re usually 14 to 15 inches in length and weigh just over a pound.

Short-Billed Black Cockatoo

The short-billed black cockatoo is an all-black cockatoo that has hints of white dots around its face.

They’re enormous, coming in around 21 to 23 inches in length and having a weight falling approximately 1.5 pounds.

As for their personality, short-billed black cockatoos are mighty creatures, meaning they love to chew and destroy their surroundings for fun.

Don’t take this as a threat, but realize they have a lot of energy.

They have an average lifespan of 25 to 50 years and are native to South West Australia.

Long Billed-Black Cockatoo

For this different type of cockatoo on our list, we have the long billed-black cockatoo, a gorgeously large black cockatoo with grey dots around its face. The Long-billed Black Cockatoo, also known as the White-tailed or White-eared Black Cockatooor Baudin’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii).

Like many other cockatoos, they’re enormous, being 22 to 24 inches in length and having a weight of around 1 to 2 pounds. They have an average lifespan of 25 to 50 years and are native to South West Australia.

The irises are dark brown and the legs are brown-grey. Its beak is longer and narrower than that of the Short-billed Black Cockatoo.

The adult male has a dark grey beak and pink eye-rings and the adult female has a bone colored beak, grey eye-rings, and its ear patches are paler than that of the male.

Juveniles have a bone colored beak, grey eye-rings, and have less white in the tail feathers.

Personality-wise, they’re brilliant and inquisitive creatures.

Gang-Gang Cockatoogang gang cockatoo

Besides having a great name, the gang-gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) is an all-grey cockatoo with a bright pink head and crest. They are generally found in the cooler and wetter forests and woodlands of Australia, particularly alpine bushland.

Size-wise, they’re around 13 inches in length and usually have a weight that falls approximately 10 ounces. The gang-gang cockatoo is a grey bird with a wispy crest. The head and crest is bright red in males, but dark grey in females. The edges of feathers in underparts have edges of yellow or pink.

Juvenile males can be distinguished by their brighter crowns and shorter crests, but otherwise look similar to the adult female. The birds are not easily mistaken for other cockatoos, but while in flight may resemble the Galah. Gang-gangs are very social birds, but not overly noisy.

They have a great personality, as many cite gang-gang cockatoos as being silly, goofy, lively, and intelligent parrots, making them an excellent pet parrot.

They have an average lifespan of 60 years.

Black Palm Cockatoo

This cockatoo, the black palm cockatoo or goliath cockatoo, is strikingly beautiful and is the largest cockatoo. It is a large smoky-grey or black parrot and is native to New Guinea, Aru Islands and Cape York Peninsula. It has a very large black beak and prominent red cheek patches.

It is not a naturally affectionate bird, however, with extensive training, hand-fed black palm cockatoos can make excellent, tame pets.

Like other cockatoos, it craves regular interaction with its owners. This bird’s large size, beak strength, and uneven temperament make it most suitable for experienced and fearless bird owners.

Cockatiel

Last but not least on our list of cockatoos is the cockatiel, a grey, yellow, and orange dotted parrot that is one of the most popular parrots for people to adopt.

They’re average-sized, being 12 to 13 inches for their length, but they only weigh around 3 ounces.

They’re very gentle, affectionate, and dependent parrots, meaning they expect to have a close relationship with you as time goes on.

Always do what you can to give them attention and love as they’ll enjoy it quite a bit. They only have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years, sadly, and are native to Australia.

And there you have it, quite an exhaustive list of different types of cockatoos.

5 Comments

  1. Oh wow, I never knew a cockatoo had a lifespan of 50 to 70 years, which makes them ideal lifelong companions for humans. My sister recently got a cockatoo, which made me wonder how many different types of cockatoos there are. And there are so many more types than I would ever have thought. 

    It is fascinating reading about the incubation periods and sizes of these different types of cockatoos. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise on different types of cockatoos.

  2. I would never have known the life span of cockatoos is between 50 to 70 years, had I not read this post. I have seen some from a distance back in the island of Tonga. They are beautiful birds, and some are very intelligence as pets. Although I hear they can be a nuisance to farmers.

    I learned something new today about these unique birds.

    1. Best Vai, these are definitely pets for life if you decide to get one. In the wild, they can be destructive if there are too many of them in one area, especially to farmers and their crops.

  3. Hi Michel. OMG I have always wanted a Cockatoo. I may have left my run to late as I’m in my 40’s lol. After such a long time I wouldn’t want to leave my bird to someone else either. I also do not fancy hanging around on planet earth until I’m 110+! Wow as for the breeds there are so many! I must admit I never knew there were black ones. A hotel I frequently stay at has a Cockatoo in their lobby. He’s so funny, talking away to folks as they enter and leave 😉 Great arvo reading for me! 
    Regards 

    Shelley 

    1. Thanks for your kind words Shelley. Cockatoos make wonderful pets as they are so affectionate and at least they don’t die on you (well most of the time). However if you want a better talker you may enjoy an African Grey more.

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